Thursday, June 19, 2014

Taking a Summer Break

I have been thinking about and studying many things lately with regards to what I believe and my walk with Christ past, present, and future. It is in large part because of this spiritual season I’m in that I think it would be a great idea if I were to take some time off and process all that God is trying to share with me during this time.

So, this summer, I will take a break from my “Under the Shadow of His Wings” blog.

Please pray for me as I take this little pause in sharing my devotionals.

May God bless you.

Until next time,

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: 
for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, 
that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
—John 16:13

Monday, June 02, 2014

Handfuls of Purpose: A Poem and a Devotion

“And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.”—Ruth 2:16


God to Boaz
Let fall handfuls of purpose for her
She knows not the blessings I have in store
And while My plans for her are taking form
As she waits, please bless her with provision, kindness, and care

Boaz to His Men
Let fall handfuls of purpose for her
As she ministers to her mother-in-law and likely grieves the passing
Of her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law
Comfort her with generous amounts of barley in our harvest
and protect her from any harm

I admire this young lady
She has shown commitment to our God
By leaving her comforts, her home, and her family—all she knows
To join herself with His people
Out of love for her mother-in-law

Show her the kindness of our God
Let her know that He does not let one of His children go uncared for
Show her the respect that she likely has never known
By letting handfuls of purpose fall before her
And watching over her as she gleans in my field

While I may not see the picture clearly
I know she is a special woman
She's young, yet has shown great wisdom
In how she is faithful and obedient to her mother-in-law

Boaz to God
So, Lord God,
Help me be to her
All that you are to me.
While I let handfuls of purpose fall before her.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz told his young men to let “handfuls of purpose” fall on the ground for Ruth to pick up and glean. Not only was she to glean after the reapers what fell to the ground, more handfuls of barley were to be dropped on purpose on the ground in front of Ruth to glean. As far as we know, she was the only one of the maidens of Boaz' field who got this privilege. I think it could be said that she did not know this provision was taking place on her behalf. She just went along with her commitment to provide for her mother-in-law and reaped blessings in return.

So, too, in our lives. God's handfuls of purpose may not be easily understood or seen by us at the times of His provision of them, but when we look with hindsight back on the workings of God in our lives, we then see clearly that He, too, lets fall handfuls of purpose (or in a general sense, handfuls of blessings) before us.

Another way of saying this is that God not only provides for us, He gives us much more than we expected or even hoped for from Him. This could be monetary provision. It could be in the form of wise counsel from our brothers and sisters in the Lord. It could be the illumination He grants us when we read His Word. Whatever it is, if God is doing the providing, it is abundant, free, and given without rebuke or strings attached.

I think many of us, who have trusted Christ as our Savior, and received His free gift of salvation believe that somehow we need to work for His blessings. While there is some truth to the fact God blesses His children while we are faithful to Him in the here and now, I think God's handfuls of purpose are completely free and not dependent on anything we do.

Like salvation, the gifts and provisions He gives us in our daily lives, when viewed in light of Ruth 2:16, are blessings above and beyond our good works, our hopes, our requests, and our desires.

I think the best way to fully appreciate and acknowledge these handfuls of purpose then is to be thankful to God. Not congratulatory of ourselves in our walks with God and how we've “earned” these blessings, but to acknowledge that without Him, we would not receive these handfuls of purpose, these above and beyond blessings from His Hand.

As I survey my life, I can look back and see many of these kinds of blessings from the Hand of my Savior. I acknowledge that He has provided for me above and beyond what I ever hoped in my education, in my relationships with my family, in my work, in my growth in Him, with the recent gift of a husband and a daughter, and so much more.

It is good for me to remember as I reflect on these handfuls of purpose that God has let fall along my path, that they are from Him alone and are a testament of the greatest gift He could ever give me—His love.

(Source: Mark Oehrhardt on Pixabay)

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